Last night at the Dylan Thomas Centre, the late Neath poet Terry Hetherington was honoured once more. The evening featured readings from 25 young poets and writers, all of which are featured in Cheval 11. The ceremony marks the culmination of the £1000 prize which took submissions from all over the UK.
The first writer to read was this year's winner: Katya Johnson. She read an excerpt of her short story 'The Silver Darlings', leaving the audience wishing she'd continued reading:
There was an excellent blend of poetry and prose within the readings and the anthology. Soon after Katya finished, second prize winner Dr. Thomas Tyrrell, whom you'll remember from his post on our blog, took the podium to recite his witty tennis poem 'Three Wimbledon sonnets or Serve, return and rally'. He followed up with his prize-winning 'Sometimes in Summer', a beautiful meditation on a summer walk among the birds and leaves.
The readings were at the far end of a hall which is bisected by a marvellous image of Dylan Thomas staring up at the light. A spiral staircase led up to a viewing area of the round tables where writers and readers alike listened to the stories. The prize began because it was the best way Terry Hetherington's friends and family could think of to celebrate the work he'd done. He cared deeply about the next generation of writers, so it was fitting that the award that carried his namesake be specifically for writers under 30.
The evening proved to be a tremendous coalescing of three organisations that promote the written word: Cheval, Dylan Thomas Centre, and Parthian. The prize and the anthology that resulted from it are the direct result of a collective of readers and writers that believe stories have the capacity to move people. This was the ethos of the evening, which can be viewed from the videos on our Facebook page.
Cheval 11 can be purchased from our website here. Submissions are now open for the 2019 Terry Hetherington Award, which you can enter here. Another way to get involved with supporting young writers is to come to the Poems & Pints event, the first Thursday of every month at The Cambrian Arms in Neath.